PA sees some heart surgery improvements

A new report from a Pennsylvania state agency has concluded that while, as might be expected, there are a few hospitals with questionable performance in heart surgery, the quality of care has improved for some major procedures.

The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council's annual cardiac surgery report concluded that the quality of care statewide improved for patients who received heart bypass and valve operations, even as the number of patients declined. The biggest improvement was seen in surgery to treat diseased heart valves; in 2007, the most recent year for which data was available, jut 3.9 percent of patients died in the hospital, compared with 5.2 percent in 2005.

Meanwhile, hospital-acquired infections declined while readmission rates rose. A total of 933 open-heart patients contracted infections during their care in 2007, or about 5.4 percent.

To learn more about Pennsylvania's cardiac surgery performance:
- read this Philadelphia Inquirer piece

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